Jews and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
What role did the Jews have in the Slavery of "African Americans" (Hebrews)??
Here are a few Jewish sources that gives us the answers.
Yah said he would bring the nations to the valley of JEHOSHAPHAT, and plead with them, because they have parted his land and scattered Israel. The Jews have had a hand in both parting his land and scattering his people.
This excellent material was taken from the website BLACKS AND JEWS which is located at http://www.blacksandjews.comWhen assessing the relationship between Blacks and Jews, one need not resort to vicious name-calling or opprobrious epithets. One need only to present the facts. World Jewry apologizes to no one when they cite historical precedent as a guide for their future relationships with any people. The historical record is clearer than the muddled pronouncements of a reactionary and controlled media. None of the critics of The Secret Relationship have been able to re-write the history showing a history of "friendship" between Blacks and Jews. They are forced to succumb to the tragic reality that nearly every one of their colonial fathers hated Black people and participated in the robbing of their humanity. Those who have felt that there was some "special" relationship which carried with it a "special" right to criticize and control Black leadership can no longer make such a claim.
Marc Lee Raphael
"Jews also took an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados and Jamaica in the eighteenth century, Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated.
"This was no less true on the North American mainland, where during the eighteenth century Jews participated in the 'triangular trade' that brought slaves from Africa to the West Indies and there exchanged them for molasses, which in turn was taken to New England and converted into rum for sale in Africa. Isaac Da Costa of Charleston in the 1750's, David Franks of Philadelphia in the 1760's, and Aaron Lopez of Newport in the late 1760's and early 1770's dominated Jewish slave trading on the American continent."
SOURCE: Jews and Judaism in the United States a Documentary History (New York: Behrman House, Inc., Pub, 1983), p. 14.
Dr. Lee Raphael is the editor of American Jewish History, the journal of the American Jewish Historical Society at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
"In Charleston, Richmond and Savannah the large majority (over three-fourths) of the Jewish households contained one or more slaves; in Baltimore, only one out of three households were slaveholding; in New York, one out of eighteen....Among the slaveholding households the median number of slaves owned ranged from five in Savannah to one in New York."
SOURCE: "The Jewish Population in 1820," in Abraham J. Karp, ed., The Jewish Experience in America: Selected Studies from the Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (Waltham, Massachusetts, 1969, 3 volumes), volume 2, pp. 2, 17, 19.
"The Jews of the Joden Savanne [Surinam] were also foremost in the suppression of the successive negro revolts, from 1690 to 1722: these as a matter of fact were largely directed against them, as being the greatest slave-holders of the region." History of the Marranos (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1932), p. 292.
Jacob Rader Marcus
"All through the eighteenth century, into the early nineteenth, Jews in the North were to own black servants; in the South, the few plantations owned by Jews were tilled with slave labor. In 1820, over 75 percent of all Jewish families in Charleston, Richmond, and Savannah owned slaves, employed as domestic servants; almost 40 percent of all Jewish householders in the United States owned one slave or more. There were no protests against slavery as such by Jews in the South, where they were always outnumbered at least 100 to 1....But very few Jews anywhere in the United States protested against chattel slavery on moral grounds."
United States Jewry, 1776-1985 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989), p. 586.
The American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society Report of 1853
"The Jews of the United States have never taken any steps whatever with regard to the slavery question. As citizens, they deem it their policy to have every one choose which ever side he may deem best to promote his own interests and the welfare of his country. They have no organization of an ecclesiastical body to represent their general views; no General Assembly, or its equivalent. The American Jews have two newspapers, but they do not interfere in any discussion which is not material to their religion. It cannot be said that the Jews have formed any denominational opinion on the subject of American slavery....The objects of so much mean prejudice and unrighteous oppression as the Jews have been for ages, surely they, it would seem, more than any other denomination, ought to be the enemies of caste, and friends of universal freedom."
Rabbi Bertram W. Korn
"It would seem to be realistic to conclude that any Jew who could afford to own slaves and had need for their services would do so....Jews participated in every aspect and process of the exploitation of the defenseless blacks."
SOURCE: "Jews and Negro Slavery in the Old South, 1789-1865," in Abraham J. Karp, The Jewish Experience in America: Selected Studies from the Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (Waltham, Massachusetts, 1969), pp. 184, 189. [Dr. Korn is a rabbi, historian; A.B., Cincinnati, 1939; Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ordination M.H.L. 1949; Sr. rabbi, Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1949-; Chaplain, USNR, 1944-; Visiting professor, American Jewish History, Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, 1962-; Honorary Overseer Gratz College of Pennsylvania; visiting professor, American Jewish History, Dropsie University of Pennsylvania; 1970-; Recipient Merit Award, American Association for State & Local History, 1969.]
Louis Epstein, author of Sex Laws and Customs in Judaism:
"The female slave was a sex tool beneath the level of moral considerations. She was an economic good, useful, in addition to her menial labor, for breeding more slaves. To attain that purpose, the master mated her promiscuously according to his breeding plans. The master himself and his sons and other members of his household took turns with her for the increase of the family wealth, as well as for satisfaction of their extra-marital sex desires. Guests and neighbors too were invited to that luxury."
Seymour B. Liebman
"They came with ships carrying African blacks to be sold as slaves. The traffic in slaves was a royal monopoly, and the Jews were often appointed as agents for the Crown in their sale....[They] were the largest ship chandlers in the entire Caribbean region, where the shipping business was mainly a Jewish enterprise....The ships were not only owned by Jews, but were manned by Jewish crews and sailed under the command of Jewish captains."
SOURCE: New World Jewry 1493-1825: Requiem for the Forgotten (KTAV, New York, 1982), pp. 170, 183. [Liebman is an attorney; LL.B., St. Lawrence University, 1929; M.A. (Latin American history), Mexico City College, 1963; Florida chapter American Jewish Historical Society, 1956-58; Friends of Hebrew University, 1958-59; American Historical Society Contributor to scholarly journals on Jewish history.
Herbert I. Bloom
"The Christian inhabitants [of Brazil] were envious because the Jews owned some of the best plantations in the river valley of Pernambuco and were among the leading slave-holders and slave traders in the colony.(1)
Slave trade [sic] was one of the most important Jewish activities here [in Surinam] as elsewhere in the colonies."2
SOURCE: 1. , "A Study of Brazilian Jewish History 1623-1654, Based Chiefly Upon the Findings of the Late Samuel Oppenheim," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, vol. 33 (1934), p. 63. 2. The Economic Activities of the Jews of Amsterdam in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Port Washington, New York/London: Kennikat Press, 1937), p. 159.
[Bloom is a rabbi; B.A., Columbia University, 1923, Ph.D., 1937; M.H.L., Jewish Institute of Religion, 1928, D.D., 1955; rabbi, Temple Albert, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1928-31. President Kingston Ministerial Association, 1945-46, and 1959-60; B'nai B'rith; Zionist Organization of America; vice-president, National Prison Chaplain Board, since 1962; Social Action Committee of Central Conference of American Rabbis, since 1947; Author: The Jews of Dutch Brazil, 1936; The Economic Activities of the Jews of Amsterdam, 1937.]
"The West India Company, which monopolized imports of slaves from Africa, sold slaves at public auctions against cash payment. It happened that cash was mostly in the hands of Jews. The buyers who appeared at the auctions were almost always Jews, and because of this lack of competitors they could buy slaves at low prices. On the other hand, there also was no competition in the selling of the slaves to the plantation owners and other buyers, and most of them purchased on credit payable at the next harvest in sugar. Profits up to 300 percent of the purchase value were often realized with high interest rates....If it happened that the date of such an auction fell on a Jewish holiday the auction had to be postponed. This occurred on Friday, October 21, 1644."
SOURCE: Jews in Colonial Brazil (1960), pp. 72-3; [Note: Wiznitzer, Arnold Aharon, educator; Born in Austria, December 20, 1899; Ph.D., University of Vienna, 1920; Doctor of Hebrew Literature, Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Emeritus research professor, University of Judaism, Los Angeles; Contributor to historical journals in the United States and Brazil including the Journal of Jewish Social Studies and the Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society. Former president, Brazilian-Jewish Institute of Historical Research.]
Rabbi Morris Raphall
"[I]t remains a fact which cannot be gain said that in his own native home, and generally throughout the world, the unfortunate negro is indeed the meanest of slaves. Much had been said respecting the inferiority of his intellectual powers, and that no man of his race has ever inscribed his name on the Parthenon of human excellence, either mental or moral."
Jews in the South
"The Jew is the heir of the slave-baron in Dougherty [Georgia]; and as we ride westward, by wide stretching cornfields and stubby orchards of peach and pear, we see on all sides within the circle of dark forest a Land of Canaan. Here and there are tales of projects for money getting, born in the swift days of Reconstruction'improvement' companies, wine companies, mills and factories; nearly all failed, and the Jew fell heir."
SOURCE: The Souls of Black Folk (1903) note: When DuBois tried to republish the book in 1953, he succumbed to pressure to replace the word "Jew" with "foreigner."
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JEWS AND SLAVERY
HERE IS SOME MORE INTERESTING INFORMATION ABOUT JEWS.
The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion refers to Moses Maimonides as "the symbol of the pure and orthodox faith." His Guide to the Perplexed is considered the greatest work of Jewish religious philosophy, but his view of Blacks was Hitlerian:
"[T]he Negroes found in the remote South, and those who resemble them from among them that are with us in these climes. The status of those is like that of irrational animals. To my mind they do not have the rank of men, but have among the beings a rank lower than the rank of man but higher than the rank of apes. For they have the external shape and lineaments of a man and a faculty of discernment that is superior to that of the apes."
Major Mordecai Manuel Noah (1785-1851)
He was considered the most distinguished Jewish layman in his time. He was such a prolific proponent of slavery, that the first Black American periodical, The Freedom's Journal, was launched in response to Noah's racist propaganda. He actually defended slavery by calling it liberty:
"There is liberty under the name of slavery. A field negro has his cottage, his wife, and children, his easy task, his little patch of corn and potatoes, his garden and fruit, which are his revenue and property. The house servant has handsome clothing, his luxurious meals, his admitted privacy, a kind master, and an indulgent and frequently fond mistress."
He argued that "the bonds of society must be kept as they now are" and that "To emancipate the slaves would be to jeopardize the safety of the whole country." The Freedom's Journal called Noah the Black man's "bitterest enemy" and William Lloyd Garrison, the leading White abolitionist, called him the "lineal descendant of the monsters who nailed Jesus to the cross."
A Rabbi, 1956
"What our friends in the North do not fully appreciate is the fact that there is no difference between most of the Jews and their Christian neighbors in their attitudes toward the Negro. This is not a by-product of antisemitism, but an honest conviction. For these Jews desegregation presents not merely a school problem, but also a problem of the mixing of races."
Lester D. Friedman
Author of Hollywood's Image of the Jew
"Today, most people associate the blackface tradition with minstrel shows, and more particularly with Al Jolson. In actuality, many Jewish performers gained early and continued success using it. Sophie Tucker was billed as the 'World Renowned Coon Shouter' or more euphemistically as the 'Manipulator of Coon Melodies.' Eddie Cantor played Salome in drag and blackface, while George Burns often toured with an even more comically stylized blackface than Jolson's. Later George Jessel often joined Eddie Cantor on stage in various blackface routines...Indeed, it is too easy to ignore the derogatory aspects of such activities, the unconscious racism accepted and nourished by such cruel parodies, by citing historical contexts. The undisguised elements of ridicule in such blackface portrayals by Jews mimicking the outlandish stereotypes of blacks now looks suspiciously like one group's desperate need to assert its own superiority by mimicking another. Such a motivation while perhaps unconscious is nonetheless hard to ignore."
B'nai B'rith Magazine, May, 1925, vol. 39 :
Rastus: Whuffo' yo' 'jeculate yoself to me in dat onery manner?
Cicero: Whoffo'? Nigguh, who do yo' calkerate yo' is?
Rastus: Yo' nigguh! mah family am quality folks an' ahm a pusson of rank.
Cicero: Huh! ah'll have yo' triflin', Rastus, to know that ah'm ranker than you is.
"Jokes" like these appeared regularly in the B'nai B'rith Magazine even as the ADL fought this kind of defamation of Jews.
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